NEW DELHI: In a bid to maintain right water-levels and ensure that the water table does not get depleted much, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has recommended against extracting water. The CGWA has made the suggestion while issuing draft guidelines “for issuing no objection certificates (NOC) for groundwater withdrawal.”
The draft guidelines state, “No-objection certificate (NOC) shall not be granted for extraction of groundwater for construction activities in project in critical and over-exploited areas.”
Another key recommendation made by the CGWA is that the use of groundwater for purposes other than drinking, fire-fighting, horticulture etc, shall not exceed 25 percent of the total extraction.
The body also has barred use of fresh groundwater for recreational purposes like swimming pools. CGWA has sought suggestions on the draft guidelines which were released four days ago. The feedback has to be sent within 60 days following which the guidelines would be finalised. The final guidelines will supersede all the existing ones. According to the authority, there are four categories of areas based on their use of groundwater. The categories are ‘safe’ areas which have groundwater potential for development. Then there are ‘semi-critical’ areas where cautious groundwater development is recommended. The other categories are ‘critical’ and ‘over-exploited’ areas are those where there should be intensive monitoring and evaluation and future development be linked with water conservation measures.
According to the 2013 survey of 6,584 units (which could be blocks, talukas, mandals, watersheds), around 1,034 were found to be over-exploited, while 253 were critical and 681 semi-critical. As many as 96 were identified as saline, while 4,520 were marked as “safe”. The authority has proposed that all users drawing or proposing to draw groundwater through non-energised (pumps) and pumps of up to two horsepower from a single tubewell on their premises will be exempted from seeking the NOC. But individual households and connections which have more than one tubewell or borewell, or drawing groundwater using pumps of more than two horsepower from a single tubewell or borewell on their premises need to apply for permission.
The authority has said that since priority is to be accorded to drinking water, the NOC will be granted for extracting groundwater through existing or new groundwater extraction structures only for drinking and domestic purpose “even in notified areas”. “NOC for groundwater withdrawal will be considered only in cases where the water supply department concerned is unable to provide adequate amount of water in the area,” the draft States. The body has proposed even government water supply agencies to seek an NOC from the authorised officers for existing as well as new schemes based on groundwater resources.